The work of art:
Where she creates:
Pittsburgh, PA (USA)—home of Steelers football, Heinz ketchup, and year-round road construction.
The genre that get's to claim her:
Contemporary Fiction, namely Psychological Thrillers. My work has been categorized as a few other things as well, such as Erotica, Romance, and Suspense. It’s hard to pick any one (or two, or three) genres which best describe my novels, as my novels each have elements of several different genres at play. Is Cross-Genre a genre? If so, I’ll go with that one!
The heart of the story:
“Pig” is the story of a very troubled woman named Lily. We first meet her at a funeral home, where she sits in observance of her husband’s “accidental” death. As she sees different funeral home guests, she is reminded of her past and her life’s story unfolds. Flashbacks take the reader back and forth between Lily’s past and her present situation, revealing her unnerving, yet inspiring, history of domestic abuse, adultery, graphic sex, reflection, and loss.
Her muse isn't into rules:
The only rule or guideline I follow when writing is the goal of writing a good book. I want the story to be a page-turner and the characters to be incredibly real.
As far as the formalities of how I go about writing, I don’t do outlines, summaries, plot sketches, or anything of that ilk—at least not on paper. I do work the story out in my head a little bit, and I keep working it in my head until it is ready to come out. Then, I just sit down at the computer and type away. It actually just flows out of me this way.
I wrote “pig” in approximately three months. This is the way I like to write. I like to get an idea and go all the way with it, nonstop, until it is complete.
She wrote this and thought: The world has got to read this!
I actually feel this way about “pig.” I think it’s a book that needs to be read. The story is intense, and it’s quite different than a lot of what’s out there these days. I’ve had several reviewers write that they’ve never read anything like “pig” before and were shocked both by its content and its resolution. I am flattered to receive such reviews, and hope that enough people read the reviews and want to read the book. They may be disappointed in what the book is about, but they won’t be disappointed in the book itself.
Who we can thank for helping "Pig" Reach perfection:
My publisher, The Artists’ Orchard, LLC, is an indie microhouse spearheaded by an incredibly talented lady named Sherry Linger Kaier. Sherry does my editing, cover design, and layout. One of the huge benefits of working with a small indie house is being an integral part in these processes. I worked closely with Sherry throughout the editing, layout, and cover design stages of creating “pig.” She asked for my feedback at every step along the way, and worked diligently to make sure that the final product was one with which I was completely satisfied.
Sherry’s faith in my writing has been unyielding, and she has been a pleasure to work with. I’m very lucky to’ve found her.
We can thank one of the greats yet again for inspiring SBR to wrote:
I usually say John Gardner, the author of “Grendel,” when asked this question. But, today, I feel more like saying Anne Rice. Her Vampire Chronicles changed the ways I read and write. So many of Rice’s characters touched my heart in very real, compellingly human ways, despite the fact that they were not humans but were vampires. Rice is such an artist when it comes to giving back-stories and creating character depth, which are backbones of my own fiction.
Reading her works, I couldn’t help but tell myself repeatedly: “I want to create something this moving some day.” And, I hope I have.
There is never enough time:
Finding the time to write has proved to be my biggest challenge. I’m married and have two young daughters—ages 2 and 4. They keep me very busy, and I feel guilty when I spend hours on end at the computer. Plus, my husband doesn’t really understand that writing is my work. Whenever I try to write and home during the day, he’s always telling me that I should help out with the kids or do some household chores. I don’t call him when he’s at work with such requests, now do I? He thinks that the fact that I’m at home means I’m not necessarily at work.
I’ve tried to get a lot of my writing done at night, after the kids go to bed, but I’m usually so exhausted by then that all I want to do is lie down in bed and watch television. So it’s been hard to find a time that works best for all those involved. Some folks have suggested I go to a coffee shop or library. I’m not too interested in doing that, though. I like to write without my bra on for some reason, and without shoes. I don’t think that’d fly too well in a public place
Her characters add allot all by themselves:
They start off as my own creations but quickly evolve to write themselves through me. Once I have the basic idea of a character down, it’s as if all the other pieces of his or her personality and literary existence just fall into place. Writing them becomes more of an organic process than a methodical one. They take on a life of their own that’s beyond my initial comprehension or intention.
There is allot of SBR in her characters.
Yes. I put my own fears and anxieties into my characters, as well as tiny things like physical qualities and movements. When a character is sad or happy, I think about what it feels like when I am sad or happy. What thoughts go through my head? What expression is on my face?
There’s a great philosophical debate out there that the only thing a person is sure of is his or her own existence. Everything else is mere speculation at best. So by using my real self as a reference point, I am able to create characters based on the reality I know best: my own.
That’s not to say, however, that my books are factual stories plucked from my own life. The disturbing plots are purely fictitious. What is real is the human emotion and sensation.
In this economy, SBR is back to looking for a day job.
A little of both. I’m a writer by trade and by choice, although shifts in the economy are forcing me to look at other job options as well. I’ve worked as a freelance journalist and contracted reporter in the past. But those jobs are very hard to come by. We can’t stretch the few dollars we have left any more than we’ve already stretched them, so I’m looking for “regular,” steady employment in the mainstream workforce as we speak.
If she had a time machine, she'd solve an age old mystery.
I’d like to go back and meet Marylyn Monroe, to find out some of the secrets she has, including the secret behind her own death. I’m all about finding out shocking info, that’s a hallmark of what I write and what I like to read. I’m sure Miss Monroe could definitely shock me with her stories.
It will stand from the masses because:
I’d like to think a lot of things make “pig” stand out. The characters are very believable and real, heart-wrenching and compelling. The story isn’t one with a necessarily happy ending, but with a necessary ending that makes sense.
When “pig” placed as a Second Prize Quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, Publishers Weekly wrote of the manuscript: "(Martin) is able to build good characters, flawed and believable, yet familiar; so that at the end one is saddened, but also, in a strange way, enriched."
So it’s that that I’d like to think makes “pig” stand out—the fact that it can be simultaneously disturbing and enriching at the same time, like so much else in life.
SBR swears by the blogger community.
I’ve been doing most of my own PR for “pig,” and the crucial element I’ve discovered is hitting up bloggers left and right. From fellow/sister authors and professional reviewers to stay-at-home moms and local book clubs, I’ve searched for people and/or publications online that are willing and interested in helping spread the word about a great book.
I’ve received some honest reviews of “pig” this way and have made a dozen or so virtual stops as a guest blogger or interviewee on different blogs and sites. And every single one of them has been important, whether a blog with only a few subscribers or a blog with daily hits in the thousands, whether a reviewer for a well-known review source or a gal who likes to review books in her spare time. It’s all about exposure, getting my work out there for others to find.
A great website is http://blogtour.org, where authors and bloggers can meet up to coordinate virtual tour stops. Facebook has also been a helpful tool. I searched for “book reviewer” and then examined many of the pages that came up, which resulted in some interviews and guest spots as well.
My biggest advice to other authors is to search, search, search and then visit, visit, visit. Don’t be afraid to reach out to scores of people and ask them to review your book or host your appearance on their site. There are actually a lot of people out there willing to do these things. You just have to find them.
Thank you so much for being a part of my Indie Spotlight series. It was loads of fun.
Links to follow and Like SBR: